Nepal to seek trade balance with China

Date : 2013-07-01  | From : Xinhua

Nepal is set to ask China for technical support in order to balance the bilateral trade, officials said on Monday.

During Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi's two-day visit to Nepal that begins on Monday, Nepali Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Home Affairs Madhav Ghimire will request technical support from China for the better utilization of zero tariff China has provided for Nepali export products.

Ghimire will hold talks with Yang on Monday evening followed by the welcoming dinner.

"Nepali side will put forward the proposal for mutual recognition agreement on quarantine of food products, livestock and other agricultural products through which stringent quarantine rules could be simplified," Himal Thapa, under secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), told Xinhua.

Although China has provided zero duty facility for 7,787 products since November 2012, Nepal has been exporting only 366 products including handicraft, Pashmina, vegetable ghee, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC).

Data compiled by TEPC shows that Nepal's trade deficit with China rose to 550 million U.S. dollars during 2011/12 fiscal year, up from 475 million U.S. dollars in the previous year.

During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Nepal' s export to China was recorded at 19 million U.S. dollars against imports worth 540 million dollars.

Nepali entrepreneurs are quite unaware of quarantine and certification process when they export their products to China.

Nepali officials will ask Chinese side to provide technical training on certificate of origin to Nepali exporters and to help upgrade the customs infrastructure along the Nepal-China border, Thapa said.

China has already pledged to construct dry port at Tatopani and Rasuwagadi customs.

Investment in hydro power projects and facilitating the Chinese investors are also on economic agenda of the bilateral consultation, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, joint secretary at Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Yang Jiechi, the first high-level foreign dignitary to visit Nepal since the formation of Interim Election Council of Ministers in March 2013, is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of Ring Road extension project in the Nepali capital Kathmandu on Tuesday.

Nepali government has planned to widen the whole 27 km Ring Road in three phases with the grant assistance of China.

In the first phase, Kalanki-Koteshwore 9 km section of the Ring Road will be expanded from existing four lanes to ten lanes with Chinese grant assistance of 51 million U.S. dollars.

Yang is a seasoned Chinese diplomat who was recently elevated as the State Councilor in charge of foreign relations.

Yang, as foreign minister, had first visited Nepal in December 2008 after the peace process began. His second Nepal visit was with the then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in January 2012.